Πήγε δέκα,έντεκα,δώδεκα...Στη θέση του συνοδηγού,εγώ.Απορροφώ εικόνες,πάντα το έκανα.Προσπερνάς το Σύνταγμα,διασχίζεις την Πανεπιστημίου,φθάνεις Ομόνοια.Κόκκινο το φανάρι.Κόσμος κινείται εδώ κι εκεί,συγκρατώ πρόσωπα στο μυαλό μου.Βλέπεις μια άλλη Αθήνα,μια Αθήνα που άγγιξα κι έζησα για πρώτη φορά στα δεκαπέντε,μια Αθήνα που σε τρομάζει,που σε φοβίζει,που σε αγχώνει,που σε καθιστά υπεύθυνο για τη ζωή όλων εκείνων που περνούν δίπλα σου και ζητούν τη βοήθειά σου με απλωμένο το χέρι.
Αχαρνών.Απ'τη μια πλευρά παρέες αντρών διαφορετικού χρώματος απ'το δικό σου,γυναίκες φυλακισμένες κάτω από μια μπούρκα,παιδιά που δεν υπολογίζουν τον κίνδυνο και τρέχουν μες στο δρόμο,μανάδες που τα κυνηγούν...κι απ'την άλλη πόρνες στις γωνίες,προσπαθούν να σε ψαρέψουν,να σε πείσουν τάχα μου...Γυναίκες,άντρες,τραβεστί...Εύχεσαι να μπορούσες να βοηθήσεις όλους εκείνους που σε χρειάζονται,αλλά τι να κάνεις κι εσύ;Είσαι μικρός και δεν ξέρεις πώς.
Ναρκωτικά...φακελάκια,βελόνες...Βαποράκια και χρήστες ένα.Η αστυνομία δίπλα.Συζητούν,πίνουν καφέ,τρώνε κάτι.Εξοργίζομαι.Ξέρω ότι δεν τους επιτρέπεται να κάνουν κάτι,αλλά μη δίνεις δικαίωμα,μη γίνεσαι στόχος..Απλό δεν είναι;
Ομόνοια.Άνθρωποι,ψυχές σέρνονται στο δρόμο..Άλλοι έχουν σωριαστεί στην πλατεία.Σαν να βλέπεις πτώματα παντού!Τι πόλεμος είναι αυτός;Ας μου πει κάποιος!Σκουπίδια παντού..εμπόλεμη ζώνη.Αναρωτιέσαι πού ζεις και γιατί ανέχεσαι.Τι κάνεις όμως;Τίποτα;Ψάχνεις να βρεις έναν Έλληνα.Έναν μοναχά.Το αποτέλεσμα;Μηδέν εις το πηλίκο!Γκέτο το κέντρο.Γκέτο.Μακάρι να συνυπήρχαν όλοι αρμονικά...Μα για ποια αρμονία μιλάω;Για ποια;
Δέξου το.Η κατάσταση ίσως να είναι τελειωμένη.
Κάνω ένα τσιγάρο,το έχω ανάγκη για να σκοτώσω τις εικόνες στο μυαλό,για να σκοτώσω την έλλειψη επιλογών.Η ζωή στο κέντρο ξεκινά το βράδυ.Όχι σ'εκείνο το βράδυ που τα παιδάκια αναλώνονται στα club και τα ξενύχτια,αλλά σ'εκείνο που κάθε μια ψυχή προσπαθεί να επιβιώσει έστω για λίγα δευτερόλεπτα παραπάνω...Επιβίωση:στοίχημα ζωής ή θανάτου τελικά;
Πέμπτη, 30 Αυγούστου 2012
Δευτέρα, 13 Αυγούστου 2012
Megan Rapinoe, Judith Arndt, and Carl Hester are among the openly gay Olympians to impress in London 2012.
Nearly half, 43%, of openly gay athletes have won a medal at the London Olympic Games.
In comparison to the United States, only 18% of 530 American athletes have graced the podium so far.
Out of the 23 openly gay athletes, comprising of 20 women and three men, 10 of them have won a medal solo or in a group.
If they were Team LGBT, they would have won four gold medals, one silver, and two bronze between them.
This means they would be number 19 in the official rankings, beating countries like Spain, Brazil, and Canada.
Of course these competitors are likely only a fraction of the LGBT people really taking part at the Games. If all of them were open, then Team LGBT could be much higher in the rankings.
South African Karen Hultzer, who competed in the archery women’s individual event, confirmed her sexuality to reporters during the Games.
She said: ‘I am an archer, middle aged and a lesbian. I am also cranky before my first cup of coffee. None of these aspects define who I am, they are simply part of me.
‘I am fortunate that my sexual identity is not an issue, and I don’t suffer the level of discrimination and violence that black lesbians in South Africa do. I look forward to the day when this is a non-issue and as relevant as my eye color or favorite sushi.’
Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, one of the most high profile gay athletes, has shared similar sentiments to Hultzer.
'Ideally I would like one day for sexuality to be as unimportant and uninteresting as hair color, or eye color or even just gender in general,’ he said. ‘One day it will get to that.’
But the former Olympic champion, who narrowly missed out on the diving final, said that day was not here yet.
He said: ‘But until it is easy for sports people to come out without fear of persecution or fear of lost sponsorship income and stuff like that, or fear of being comfortable in the team environment, I don't mind attention being brought to my sexuality in the hope it might make other people feel more comfortable.'
The Dutch field hockey team may have won just one gold medal, but has the most openly lesbian players, with Marilyn Agliotti, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, Kim Lammers, and Maartje Paumen helping the Netherlands’ team to win the top prize.
American Seimone Augustus helped the U.S women’s basketball team to their fifth consecutive victory, with an 86-50 win over France.
German Judith Arndt, the first solo gay athlete to win a medal, won silver in the cycling time trial.
Apart from Mitcham, the only male out athletes Carl Hester and Edward Gal won gold and bronze respectively in the equestrian team dressage events.
American soccer midfielder Megan Rapinoe was integral in the US women’s team in their gold win, finishing with four assists and scoring three goals. Also, US tennis star Lisa Raymond won bronze in the doubles event.
Rapinoe, who came out earlier this year, said it was more difficult for male athletes than for women to be open about their sexuality.
‘I think there's a lot of gay women in sports, and it's widely known in the team, they can live a pretty open lifestyle without being open in the media,’ she said. ‘But I think for men unfortunately it's not the same climate in the locker room.’
London 2012 had double the amount of openly lesbian and gay athletes than Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, which had 10 and 11 respectively.
Estimates show LGBT people make up anything from 1% to 10% of the population, so it is clear the 23 athletes are not the only ones.
OutSports co-founder Jim Buzinski has said: ‘It’s an absurdly low number. Compared to the arts, politics or business worlds, sports is still the final closet in society.’
Rapinoe said coming out had bettered her game, as seen when she scored two goals for the US soccer team in the semi-final.
‘I guess it seems like a weight off my shoulders,’ she said. ‘I've been playing a lot better than I've ever played before. I think I'm just enjoying myself and I'm happy.’
Gay Games London 2018 bid co-chair Jonathan Harbourne is spearheading the hope to provide a lasting LGBT legacy from the London 2012 Olympics.
Forty-four members of Zimbabwe's LGBT organization - GALZ - were violently arrested yesterday by riot police squad and released without being charged this morning.
Photo by GALZ.
Forty-four members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) were brutally arrested yesterday and released today (12 August) without charges.
Four Zimbabwe police officers attempted to gain entry to the GALZ office in the nation’s capital, Harrare on Saturday (11 August).
The police officers called for back up and around 15 riot squad officers descended on the office and effected arrest.
The riot squad and police officers were reported to have assaulted most of the members using baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists before detaining them without charge.
One member was reported to be bleeding through the ear after the assault.
Thirty-one men and 13 women members were detained at Harare central police station over night.
Zimbabwean human rights lawyers were denied access to see them.
The arrests came following the launch of the GALZ 'Violations Report' and briefing on the second draft Zimbabwe constitution.
GALZ reported that ‘all 44 members have now been released and are we are working with them to assess their condition and well-being.’
Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and in 2006 the country’s government amended the law which now states that sodomy is any ‘act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act’, thereby criminalizing even holding hands, hugging, or kissing.
In 1995, the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, came across a GALZ stall in an international book fair in Harrare and stated: ‘I find it extremely outrageous and repugnant to my human conscience that such immoral and repulsive organizations, like those of homosexuals, who offend both against the law of nature and the morals of religious beliefs espoused by our society, should have any advocates in our midst and elsewhere in the world.’
Two weeks later during Zimbabwe's annual independence celebrations Mugabe proclaimed: ‘It degrades human dignity.
'It's unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs.
‘What we are being persuaded to accept is sub-animal behavior and we will never allow it here. If you see people parading themselves as lesbians and gays, arrest them and hand them over to the police!’
Since then, President Mugabe has increased the political repression of Zimbabwe’s LGBT community. GALZ has been repeatedly subjected to harassment.
Members of the Zimbabwe’s LGBT community have been repeatedly detained, beaten and sometimes even raped by the authorities.
Σάββατο, 11 Αυγούστου 2012
South Australia looks set to become the second Australian state to legalize same-sex marriage while the territory that houses the Australian capital will restore official ceremonies to its civil unions scheme.
A second Australian state government has announced it will move to legalize same-sex marriage at a state level on a day that thousands of protestors marched in cities all over the country calling on federal parliamentarians to deliver on reform.
At a rally in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, state Labor Party leader and premier Jay Weatherill declared his government would support a Greens party bill legalizing same-sex marriages at a state level.
‘I support the principle of marriage equality,’ Weatherill told a cheering crowd of protesters.
‘People should be entitled to express their own identity in any way they wish and the law should not be a barrier to prevent them from doing that.
‘That is why I support the legislation to provide for marriage equality and that is why I am at the rally indicating my support.
‘It is a natural human right and something we should not interfere with, and I think the broader community supports it.’
The news came just days after the premier of the state of Tasmania declared her government would become the first in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, and came on the same day that the territory that houses the Australian capital of Canberra announced it would move to restore official ceremonies to its civil unions scheme – something past federal governments had intervened to veto.
A federal Greens party bill giving Australian territories more autonomy passed through the parliament in November last year, meaning the federal government no longer has automatic veto power over laws passed in the Australian Capital Territory.
Traditionally marriage in Australia has been governed by the federal government. However constitutional experts have said there is no barrier to states legalizing same-sex marriage if the federal government drags its feet on the issue.
There are three bills to legalize same-sex marriage before the federal parliament, however the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, opposes marriage equality and has only let her MPs have a conscience vote on the issue. The opposition leader Tony Abbott also opposes marriage equality and has refused his MPs a conscience vote, meaning it is unsure whether the numbers are there to pass any of the bills.
But Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich was upbeat about recent developments and is still confident that enough MPs can be convinced to vote for the bills.
‘The message from today's events couldn't be clearer - Australians want marriage equality and if the federal government fails to deliver the reform will happen state by state and territory by territory,’ Greenwich said.
‘With the Tasmanian, South Australian and ACT Governments all moving ahead on the issue we are more hopeful than ever before that same-sex marriages will occur on Australian soil this year.’
‘This reform will happen so the only question for [Federal] MPs and Senators is what side of history do they want to be on?’
Greenwich has recently been tipped to enter Australian politics in the state of New South Wales where a law barring MPs from also serving on local councils has meant that Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore will have to choose between that role and being the area’s local MP.
Greenwich has refused to confirm or deny reports that Moore has been grooming him to replace her in state parliament, although he is currently running as a candidate on Moore’s City of Sydney ticket for local council elections.
The organization that puts on Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras festival has announced plans to open its own museum celebrating its history and the history of LGBT Australians.
Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has announced plans to establish a museum to celebrate its history and the history of the struggle for LGBT rights in Australia.
Museum collections relating to the Sydney Mardi Gras already exist in other museums, most notably Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum which has a collection of extravagant costumes, but this is the first time that plans for a dedicated LGBT museum have been announced in Australia.
David Wilson, who will chair a committee to plan for the museum, said the museum would celebrate the LGBT community in Australia’s gains and also highlight where reform was still needed.
‘We want a museum in Sydney celebrating the journey of Mardi Gras and our fight for equality within our community, and raising awareness that we are not there yet,’ Wilson said.
‘This would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sydney’s history and diversity. One of our first tasks will be to reach out further to other interested LGBTQI history groups to help move the project forward.’
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras chair Peter Urmson said the museum was an exciting initiative.
‘We hope to one day have a permanent Museum dedicated to the history of Mardi Gras,’ Urmson said.
‘Our vision is to have a place where we can educate and break down barriers through presenting our history. Next year is our 35th anniversary. It is our intention to have a temporary museum and gauge community support for the concept.’
Only two permanent LGBTI museums exist in the world currently - the Schwules Museum in Berlin and the LGBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco.
Current committee members include Peter Urmson, Steve Warren, Mark Gray, Nick Henderson, Adam Bold, Robin Bayes, Samantha Lawrence, Clive Faro, Victor Cabello and Benedict Brook. The committee is currently investigating possible Oxford Street locations as well as other options such as a combined workshop/museum.
If you are based in Sydney and would like to be involved in this initiative in a volunteer capacity please contact David Wilson on firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist accuses fast food chain of chipping away gay rights after admitting painting a protest slogan on California restaurant.
A gay artist has been arrested in California for vandalizing a Chick-fil-A restaurant with graffiti that read 'Tastes like hate'.
Police arrested Manuel Castro on suspicion of painting the slogan on the side of the fast food chain branch in Torrance on Wednesday (9 August).
The 30-year-old admitted to defacing the building last Friday (3 August) in an interview with the Huffington Post saying it was in protest at Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s public opposition to gay marriage.
‘Everybody is entitled to free speech, but it seems like for the gay tribe, this is more of an issue of equal rights - human rights,’ he told the online news website.
‘I'm against what these people stand for, what this company stands for. They're trying to take away what little rights we already have.’
The graffiti, which was written in the same font as the restaurant's logo and featured a cow with a paint brush, coincided with a week of protests by both gay rights activists and supporters of the restaurant, including a same-sex kiss-in at branches around the country and a Chick-fil-A Appreciation day.
Castro added that the graffiti was intended to spark a debate on ‘tolerance and acceptance’.
He said: ‘I didn’t use violence. I used paint. Artists for centuries have expressed their opinions through this medium and I am no different.
‘I am happy to pay for the costs of repainting the wall, but I am not — nor will I ever be — happy to sit quietly at the back of the bus.’
Fish Huang and You Ya-ting from Taiwan vow to fight for equal rights after their historic Buddhist wedding draws global spotlight.
Image by CNA.
A lesbian couple tied the knot amid the blessings on monks and nuns in Taiwan's first high profile Buddhist same-sex wedding today.
In what is believed also to be the first such ceremony in Asia, Fish Huang and her partner of seven year You Ya-ting walked down the aisle in white bridal gowns this morning (11 Aug) in a monastery in Taoyuan, near Taipei.
Instead of exchanging rings, Huang and You helped eachother wear prayer beads, after vowing to stay together for good. Nearly 300 Buddhists chanted sutras to seek blessings for the couple, both aged 30, who also worshipped the Buddha with the crown.
Shi Chao-hwei, the Buddhist master who had promptly agreed to preside the wedding of the devout couple, hailed it as a historic moment.
‘We are witnessing history,’ said the well-known advocate for social justice and Buddhist scholar. ‘The two women are willing to stand out and fight for their fate... to overcome social discrimination.’
While stressing Buddhism does not engage in ideological struggles, Shi played down criticisms that homosexuality is a sin, saying all lives are equal in the religion.
She has said there are elements of avidya (ignorance) in the love and lust in both heterosexuality and homosexuality, such that none is more sacred or superior to the other. Sublimation and control are what matter, according to her.
The newlyweds got to know each other from the internet and decided to become one after experiencing many ups and downs together.
Aiming to achieve equal rights, Huang said during the vegetarian wedding banquet that she would push for same-sex advocacy.
‘We are not only doing this for ourselves, but for our families and others who are suffering because of their sexual orientation,’ Huang said.
Despite supporting the marriage on the whole, the couple’s parents eventually decided not to attend the wedding yesterday to stay away from media spotlight.
Instead, actress Zhu Hui-zhen, whose lesbian daughter passed away weeks ago, made good her promise to support gay children and gave the newlyweds a pair of blessed bracelets.
'This is the first time, and there will certainly be countless of this in the future,’ said the self-styled 'Rainbow Mom', who tearfully told the couple she loves them.
In one of the very first moves of their fight for equality, the newlyweds are donating a large part of their cash gifts to Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, the wedding organizer, after Shih turned down an offer to the monastery.
They had already written to President Ma Ying-jeou, urging him to look non-traditional families in the eye and legislate to protect same-sex marriages.
Taiwan's cabinet in 2003 drafted a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and allow homosexual couples to adopt children, but President balked at it, citing the need for public consensus.
Earlier this year, gay rights groups drafted a new bill and urged him to push for its legislation before his term ends in 2016.
A bill to criminalize offences against 'sacred values', filed in parliament this week by Tunisia's ruling party Ennahda, threatens the gay community.
A draft bill to criminalize offenses against ‘sacred values’ was submitted to parliament this week by Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda.
Human rights defenders warn if passed it would threaten freedom of expression and may worsen an already difficult situation for Tunisia’s gay community.
If passed, the new law would effectively punish remarks and words broadly deemed as insult or mocking the ‘sanctity of religion’ by large fines and imprisonment.
Ennahda enjoys parliamentary majority and holds most key positions in the government, including the post of prime minister and justice minister, making it likely the bill will be passed.
The bill lists subjects it deems sacred in the three Abrahamic religions, including God and the Prophet Mohammed, the earlier prophets, the holy books, mosques, churches and synagogues.
Offences to religious feelings include ‘insults, profanity, derision and representation of Allah and Mohammed’.
The bill orders a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of 2000 dinars in fines (US$ 1,236, €1,006) to anyone convicted of violating sacred values and up to four years for repeat offences.
It follows an art exhibition that some deemed offensive to Islam sparked riots in Tunis last month.
Meanwhile human rights defenders and LGBT activists criticized the draft bill.
‘If passed, this draft law would introduce a new form of censorship in a country that suffered from so much censorship under the ousted president,’ said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Goldstein also added international human rights law generally prohibits criminalizing the defamation of religion.
Experts are also concerned about the effect of such laws on women and Tunisia’s LGBT community.
While homosexuality is illegal and punishable by prison sentences, the situation may even get worse as any discussion of the topic could be deemed offensive to the ‘sanctity of religion’ if the bill becomes law.
In Saudi Arabia a law against the defamation of religion was used in 2004 to jail a teacher for three years along with 300 lashes and was banned from teaching for life, when he was found guilty of ‘endorsing un-Islamic’ sexual (homosexuality), social and religious practices.
Tunisia editor of Gay Middle East and blogger Tarek (name changed to protect his identity), told Gay Star News: ‘Western governments and media supported Ennahda, for economical and geopolitical reasons should now be ashamed.
‘This is just one more step that may further erode secular civil society in Tunisia and may further worsen freedom of expression for women and LGBT Tunisians. Gays are losing hope and trying to leave the country.
'I am concerned that the few avenues we have left for expression, like the internet, could be severely affected.’
Gayday magazine, Tunisia’s LGBT internet publication was already attacked by the Tunisian human rights minister as being offensive and pledged that freedom of expression should be limited when it comes to LGBT issues.
Legal experts are now worried that if the bill becomes law it may be used against its editor and others who express their views on LGBT rights.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Fadi (name changed to protect his identity) editor of Gayday Magazine said: ‘I am watching the developments of this bill with great concern for two main reasons.
‘One, I think it is not okay to offend the sacred values of any religion or group in any way. I know this puts a limit on freedom of expression but I do believe it must also be based on the respect of the other.
'There still has to be a room for discussion, criticism of religious authorities and habits etc. therefore I am concerned of how much room would the bill allow for these issues if passed without it being too open for interpretations jeopardizing real freedom of expression within reason.
‘Two, I am also concerned if the bill is passed, it would affect Tunisian people, particularly secular and LGBT, giving that their lifestyles might be considered sinful and offensive to the “sanctity of religion” and thus makes them subject to penalties.
‘I think that is really alarming as the state has no right to interfere in how people live and as such is a major infringement to human rights.
‘At the end I think the question is how to maintain the fine line between respecting the “sanctity of religion” and maintaining the freedom of expression and human rights, of which LGBT rights are inseparable.’
Πέμπτη, 9 Αυγούστου 2012
From activist Peter Tatchell to Trans Media Watch to GSN editor Tris Reid-Smith, the National Diversity Awards shortlist is out.
Photo by Scott Nunn.
Gay and trans activists and business people, including veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell, are in the finals to win Britain’s National Diversity Awards.
And the shortlist includes Gay Star News editor Tris Reid-Smith for the LGBT Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for his part in starting GSN.
The awards, sponsored by Microsoft, are designed to promote ‘unity in society’ and will be presented at a ceremony in Manchester on 21 September hosted by openly gay TV presenter Brian Dowling.
After a tough nominations round, the list has now been whittled down to the final three in each category.
LGBT and human rights activist Peter Tatchell is nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award having celebrated his 60th birthday this year.
He said: ‘My shortlisting is not only a tribute to my 45 years of human rights campaigning but also to the many wonderful people who've worked with me over the decades. Without their help and support, I'd never have done even half the things I've achieved.’
And a new organization, Trans Media Watch is down to the last three to win the LGBT Community Organization prize. Run by a small volunteer team, it is working with the media to see transgender (trans) and intersex people treated with accuracy, dignity and respect.
‘We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this prestigious award, which could make a real difference to a small charity like ours,’ said Trans Media Watch chair Jennie Kermode.
Also nominated are trans campaigners Paris Lees and Christine Burns.
Lees said: ‘I particularly respect Christine so I it wonderful to be shortlisted in the same category as her. I think I have a strong message to share so it is really nice to be recognized for what I am trying to achieve.’
LGBT Youth Scotland is also in the running for the Community Organization award.
Mhairi Mcmillan: ‘I think we were shortlisted because we are quite a dynamic organization which provides a range of opportunities for young people around Scotland.
‘We deliver youth services but we also do a lot of policy work. We support young people to engage with politicians, we work on domestic abuse and we have been campaigning around equal marriage.’
GSN’s editor Tris said he felt his place on the final three for his category was shared with the whole Gay Star News team.
‘Everyone has been entrepreneurial to get GSN started including our investors, staff, clients and many more. I’m just so pleased it’s paid off for all of them with our incredible growth.
‘And that’s thanks to the wonderful support we’ve had from our readers and friends – who have believed in what we’re doing. So I’m pleased for everyone that we’ve got through to the final.’
Another person to be nominated as a Positive Role Model in the age category is Nathan Popple, a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who has been working to make the north-east English city of Leeds more accessible to disabled people.
He’s been supported in his work by his two lesbian mums.
Popple told GSN: ‘I am so, so happy and excited to be a finalist. Lots of people have helped me with my campaign – my two mums Beryl and Sarah, my support worker Tilly were all there at the start.
‘My local Member of Parliament Greg Mulholland has been great and so have the people at the Yorkshire Evening Post for writing about what I am doing. This is all so incredible so thank you to everyone who put me in the finals.’
The National Diversity Awards rewards all aspects of diversity within one ceremony including age, disability, gender, race and LGBT. This has attracted endorsements from celebrities including Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed, Ade Adepitan and the stars from TV show My Transsexual Summer along with several Paralympians such as Jody Cundy, Claire Hardy, and Danny Crates.
Angela Merkel's right-wing Christian Democratic Union rules in favor of gay and lesbian registered couples gaining tax break.
Germany has decided to strengthen the rights of gay couples, giving registered partnerships the same tax benefit as married straight couples.
The federal constitutional court ruled gay couples must be treated the same in regards to land transfer tax, and demanded those who did not benefit from the law should be retroactively compensated.
It comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is debating whether gay couples should receive tax benefits given only to straight marriages.
This week 13 CDU politicians called for an income tax law that allows married couples to pool their tax rebates and pay less tax overall to apply to same-sex couples as well.
Family Affairs Minister Kristina Schröder from the CDU backed the ruling.
In an interview with CNN, she said: ‘The suggestion comes at exactly the right time.
‘In homosexual partnerships, people take long-term responsibility for each other. They are living conservative values.’
Other CDU politicians are opposed the idea, with aides to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble quoting him as saying there was ‘no need’ to change the law.
Another political party, the Christian Social Union (CSU, also criticized the move, calling the marriage between men and women ‘special’.
In an interview with ARD Television, CSU spokesperson Gerda Hasselfeldt said: ‘The marriage of man and woman is under special protection because it is fundamentally oriented toward creating new life.
‘This is not the case in homosexual relationships.’
The German government passed a law in 2001 to create registered partnerships that gave gay couples similar rights to married straight couples. Roughly 25,000 gay couples are in a registered partnership.
The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD)’s spokesman Klaus Jetz told Gay Star News gays and lesbians still face inequalities, especially in regards to adoption.
He said: ‘A lot of gay couples are quite satisfied as the tax law has been declared unconstitutional.
‘If we want to achieve full equal rights, this is one of the last steps.’
LGBT rights group All Out launch petition urging UK government to denounce gay 'cure' therapy ahead of extremist group's visit to Britain.
Campaigners are calling on the UK government to ban so-called gay 'cures' ahead of a homophobic Christian group's British leg of a world tour.
Global LGBT rights group All Out has launched apetition to stop extremist religious organizations from using therapies which they claim can turn gay people straight.
The activists are urging governments to denounce and investigate the practice currently being promoted by a group called Desert Stream.
The extremist Christian group claims to be able to 'liberate those bound by sexual and relational brokenness' and is due to hold a workshop in England on Sunday (12 August).
All Out wants the UK government to follow in the footsteps of France which has now launched an investigation into gay 'cure' therapy in response to pressure from LGBT rights groups.
'For more than 30 years a powerful group of religious extremists claimed they were able to cure homosexuality,' All Out states on the petition which now has more than 50,000 signatures.
'These extremist anti-gay groups teach that people who feel same-sex attraction should stifle it - they should smother it so deeply that they don't recognize or love themselves. We have a unique opportunity to give the final blow that will end "gay cures" for good.'
Desert Stream's 'healing and training week' at Wynmondham College, Norfolk, is the latest stop on a tour which visits 10 different countries, including Australia and Lithuania.
The group is an off-shoot of one of the world's largest 'ex-gay' ministries, Exodus International.
However, Exodus's president Alan Chambers has himself admitted that it is impossible to forcibly change someone's sexuality and claimed that attempts to do so could be harmful.
Advocates are turning to people power as latest poll shows highest support for gay marriage yet.
Advocates for gay marriage in Australia are calling on supporters to gather in cities across the nation on Saturday to call on politicians not to leave the country behind.
Australia is the only country in the English-speaking developed world where both the head of the government and the leader of the opposition are against same-sex marriage.
Despite a recent poll showing public support for marriage equality at 64%, both Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott are against a change in legislation to allow gay marriage.
Abbott will not allow Liberal and National MPs in the coalition he leads to have a conscience vote on the issue - meaning that bills currently before parliament are likely to be rejected by the House.
‘Tony Abbott has nothing to fear from allowing a conscience vote on equal marriage rights,’ said Equal Love Canberra spokesperson Chris Bourne, pointing to the new poll which also showed that 52% of coalition voters support same-sex marriage.
Rallies for marriage equality will be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide and Newcastle.
In response to the resistance of the central government on marriage equality, state governments in Tasmania and ACT (Australian Capital Territories) are trying to legalize gay marriage themselves.
Τετάρτη, 8 Αυγούστου 2012
Στην ταραχώδη ζωή ενός gay υπάρχουν τρία πράγματα που αναμφίβολα κάποια στιγμή θα δυσκολευτεί να ανακαλύψει . Σχέση που να ξεπεράσει το εξάμηνο , δουλειά πλήρους απασχόλησης και έναν συγκάτοικο οπού η συμπεριφορά του δεν θα προκαλεί τα όρια της αντοχής του. Οι πιθανότητες να πετύχεις το τελευταίο μάλιστα όταν η αγγελία σου αναγράφει ‘’Δεν έχω δουλειά , ούτε χρήματα αλλά θέλω συγκάτοικο’’ είναι τόσο απογοητευτικές που θα έλεγε κανείς ‘’Μην κουράζεσαι φίλε , τζάμπα κόπος’’ . Όμως ας όψεται η ανάγκη και ένας κάλπικος έρωτας που με μετέτρεψαν σε έναν άπορο , άστεγο και άνεργο νέο που ζητιάνευε ελεημοσύνη. Εν τέλει οι προσευχές μου εισακούστηκαν , η μοίρα μου χαμογέλασε και στην ατζέντα μου προστέθηκε άμεσα ένα ραντεβού με υποψήφιο ‘’σωτήρα’’ στην πλατεία του Συντάγματος.
Ακριβώς στις οκτώ το βράδυ , ήμουν έξω από το σταθμό του μετρό .Ανάμεσα στους βιαστικούς περαστικούς , διακρίνω κάποιον να με πλησιάζει χαμογελώντας. ‘’Είσαι ο Κώστας ;’’ με ρωτάει με τον ιδρώτα να τρέχει στο πρόσωπο του . ‘’Ναι. Νίκος , σωστά ;’’ απαντώ με την φωνή μου να τρεμοπαίζει , αγχωμένος για το πώς θα εξελισσόταν η συνάντηση αυτή.’’ Εεε, δεν το πιστεύω … δεν ξέρω πώς να στο πω . Είμαι gay και τυχαίνει να είσαι ο τύπος μου’’ μου λέει εμφανώς ταραγμένος ,στον δρόμο για το σπίτι του. ‘’Οκ , και ποιος δεν είναι στις μέρες μας ;’’ απαντώ σοκαρισμένος από την ξαφνική δήλωση του προσπαθώντας να την διαχειριστώ με διπλωματία και χιούμορ. Φτάνοντας στο διαμέρισμα του, με βγάζει στο μπαλκόνι για να δω την θέα προς τον Λυκαβηττό. ‘’Αυτό είναι το σπίτι όπως βλέπεις , δεν θέλω να μου δώσεις ενοίκιο ,ούτε κάτι για τους λογαριασμούς . Μόνο όταν βρεις δουλειά να πάρεις κανένα απορρυπαντικό , γενικά οτιδήποτε αναλώσιμο’’ .
Αν οι προβλέψεις για το ξέσπασμα μιας καταιγίδας ‘’γεννιούνται’’ από την θέα ενός συννεφιασμένου ουρανού , το σημάδι πως ένας άγνωστος πρόκειται μέσω της … ‘’φιλανθρωπικής’’ του βοήθειας να κυνηγήσει τα προσωπικά του οφέλη είναι η απροσδόκητη γενναιοδωρία του . ‘’Έχω αρκετούς γνωστούς σε κανάλια , θα πάρω τηλέφωνο να ρωτήσω αν γίνεται να σε βάλουμε κάπου’’ με ενημερώνει αφού του είπα πως το να ασχοληθώ με την δημοσιογραφία, είναι παιδικό μου όνειρο . Μια ατζέντα ξεπροβάλλει μέσα σε λίγα δευτερόλεπτα στα χέρια του και εγώ μαγεμένος από τα τηλέφωνα πρωτοκλασάτων τηλεπερσόνων του εγχώριου lifestyle που παρέλαζαν στις σελίδες του , να αναρωτιέμαι μήπως τελικά αυτή είναι η πολυπόθητη ευκαιρία που εδώ και χρόνια περίμενα . Βλέπετε, ο Νίκος εκτός από ένας στερημένος ερωτικά παχύσαρκος 30άρης, ήταν και κριτικός θεατρικών παραστάσεων σε μια από αυτές τις βαρετές άχρωμες φυλλάδες που καταστρέφουν την διάθεση μας με τα πρωτοσέλιδα τους. ‘’Θα ρωτήσω αύριο και θα σε ενημερώσω Νίκο μου’’ του απαντάει γνωστή πανελίστρια μεσημεριανής εκπομπής . ‘’Πάει και αυτό , αύριο θα ξέρουμε. Είδες αν υπάρχει θέληση ; ‘’ με ρωτάει υπονοώντας εμμέσως πλην σαφώς , πόσα θα μπορούσα να αποκτήσω αν ανταποκρινόμουν στο ερωτικό κάλεσμα του.
‘’Μπαίνω να κάνω ένα μπανάκι , όταν βγω θα συζητήσουμε περί δουλειάς ‘’ . Η ηρεμία που μου παραχώρησε η απουσία του, έκανε την φαντασία μου να καλπάζει . Ντυμένος με ακριβά ρούχα να περπατώ στους διαδρόμους μεγάλων καναλιών , κάνοντας παρέα στα διαλλείματα με παρουσιάστριες που πάντα έλαμπαν στον φακό.Meetings για το περιεχόμενο της αυριανής εκπομπής να γίνονται το τέλειο τέλος μιας ημέρας και στα γενέθλια μου ευχές από κάθε διάσημη προσωπικότητα να καταφτάνουν από κάθε μεριά. Η ομορφιά αυτών των εικόνων, διασπάστηκε αμέσως όταν τον είδα με μια άσπρη πετσέτα τυλιγμένη στην μέση του ,να πλησιάζει προκλητικά με ύφος ‘’Τώρα θα γίνουν όλα’’ στο κρεβάτι που ήμουν ξαπλωμένος. ‘’Το μόνο που θέλω είναι να ξαπλώσω πάνω σου’’ μου λέει με την ένταση ενός ναρκομανή που του λείπει η δόση του, ενώ εγώ σκέφτομαι ‘’Ε ρε , κακό που μας βρήκε’’. Το βάρος του με έκοβε την ανάσα , έτσι επιστράτευσα όλη την υπομονή μου για να αποφύγω πιθανές παρεξηγήσεις . Μέχρι που προσπάθησε με το ζόρι να με φιλήσει και σαν να ήμουν πομπός ηλεκτροσόκ, τον πέταξα από πάνω μου, αποχωρώντας σιωπηλά από την ‘’σπηλιά του λύκου’’.
Περιττό να σας πω, για την σατανική ικανοποίηση που ένιωσα δυο μήνες μετά, όταν τον συνάντησα τυχαία σε εστιατόριο στο Γκάζι, όπου με πλησίασε για να την ‘’πέσει’’ σε ένα φίλο μου. Εργαζόμουν ήδη σε γνωστή αλυσίδα καταστημάτων ρούχων , ήμουν ερωτευμένος με την προσεχώς σχέση μου και το πρόσωπο μου έλαμπε από ευτυχία καθώς του τα έλεγα. Εγώ είχα εξελιχθεί, ενώ αυτός είχε παραμείνει ο μεμψίμοιρος κακομοίρης των βορείων προαστίων.
‘’Με τον σταυρό στο χέρι κανείς δεν πηγαίνει πουθενά’’ επαναλάμβανε ο πατέρας μου όταν η συζήτηση στρεφόταν γύρω από τους νεόπλουτους -εν μια νυκτί- επιχειρηματίες του νησιού. Είτε ευθύνεται η ‘’ασθενής’’ οικονομική κατάσταση της χώρας που έχει αποδείξει πως εμπλουτίζει με προνόμια τους λωποδύτες , είτε εκείνες οι παρεμβολές από τον παρελθόν που εισβάλλουν στο μυαλό μου σε μορφή οικογενειακής οικειότητας , το αποτέλεσμα παραμένει αμετάβλητο . Από εκείνο το βράδυ , συνεχώς αναρωτιέμαι αν βιάστηκα να αρνηθώ την βοήθεια του έναντι οποιουδήποτε ανταλλάγματος . ‘’Θα μπορούσα να τον αφήσω να με συστήσει στον κύκλο του και μόλις καθιερωνόμουν , να τον παρατούσα απολαμβάνοντας ήρεμος τους ‘’καρπούς’’ της θυσίας μου. Εξάλλου και εκείνος αυτό πήγε να κάνει , να προσπαθήσει να με εκμεταλλευτεί για να επωφεληθεί. Εγώ γιατί να μην πράξω αναλόγως; ‘’ σκέφτομαι κάθε φορά που ο δρόμος για την κορυφή γεμίζει με αγκάθια και κακοτράχαλες λακκούβες.
Είναι εντυπωσιακό το πόσα είμαστε σε θέση να διεκδικήσουμε αν χρησιμοποιήσουμε έξυπνα και μεθοδικά, το sex appeal μας! Και σαφώς καθόλου αδικαιολόγητα, μιας και το σεξ είναι μια από τις σφοδρότερες ανάγκες που επηρεάζει τις σχέσεις μας με τους άλλους, τις φιλοδοξίες και τις εσωτερικές μας συγκρούσεις , τον τρόπο με τον οποίο οργανώνουμε το χρόνο μας και το πώς ξοδεύουμε τα χρήματά μας. Αυτό το γνωρίζουν καλά οι διαφημιστές που συχνά χρησιμοποιούν την ακατανίκητη έλξη του σεξ ως δόλωμα στο κυνήγι των μεγαλύτερων κερδών και κατ’ επέκταση της επαγγελματικής τους καταξίωσης. Ακόμα και τα έντυπα μεγάλης κυκλοφορίας δεν παραλείπουν να εμπορευτούν το σεξ. Ένα γυμνό εξώφυλλο βρίσκεται στην πρώτη γραμμή λύσεων ανάγκης όταν η αύξηση των πωλήσεων είναι απαραίτητη . Αυτό συμβαίνει γιατί η αγορά ενός ‘’φτηνού’’ προϊόντος γίνεται γρήγορα κι αυθόρμητα, χωρίς να προλάβει να παρεμβληθεί η σκέψη, η κουλτούρα ή η ηθική. Το σεξ είναι μια τεράστια πηγή ενέργειας που όταν καταπιέζεται ή καταστέλλεται μπορεί να γίνει διαστροφή και μανία. Η πορνογραφία, αποτελεί συχνά διέξοδο εκτόνωσης των καταπιεσμένων ενστίκτων. Συνεπώς δεν προκαλεί ερωτηματικά, το γεγονός πως οι τζίροι της διεθνής βιομηχανίας πορνό παρουσιάζουν συνεχόμενη άνοδο. Εν τούτοις , μήπως όλα αυτά είναι συμπτώματα λανθασμένου τρόπου αντιμετώπισης του ερωτισμού μας ;
‘’Την βλέπεις αυτή ;’’ με ρωτάει ο Παρασκευάς δείχνοντας μου με ένα νεύμα, μια πανέμορφη ξανθιά γυναίκα που στάθμευε την μαύρη Mercedes της έξω από το club ‘’8th Sin’’ . ‘’Είναι πόρνη πολυτελείας. Έχω ακούσει πως έχει στα … πόδια της το μισό υπουργικό συμβούλιο . Κοίτα την πως κορδώνεται. Απορώ πως δεν ντρέπεται να κάνει τέτοια δουλειά’’ με ενημερώνει όσο εγώ τον προτρέπω να χαμηλώσει τον τόνο της φωνής του, για να μην καρφωθούμε. Έμεινα να την παρατηρώ για ώρα. Φαινομενικά τα είχε όλα . Θεϊκή ομορφιά , χρυσά κοσμήματα να στολίζουν το λαιμό της και την αύρα μιας star . Όμως το πρόσωπο της ήταν προβληματισμένο , σαν να πληροφορήθηκε μόλις κάποια δυσάρεστη είδηση. ‘’Δεν θα πηγαίνουν καλά οι δουλειές’’ σχολιάζω χασκογελώντας στον φίλο μου . ‘’Μπα , μονίμως έτσι είναι’’ ήταν η απάντηση του, που με έκανε να καταλάβω πολλά.
Καμία θυσία που γίνεται στον βωμό της επιτυχίας δεν τυχαίνει ‘’αναίμακτης’’ εξέλιξης,ιδίως σε αυτές που ξεπουλάς τις ηθικές σου αξίες για ένα κομμάτι … εύπορης ζωής . Η ‘’δολοφονία’’ του αυτοσεβασμού σου είναι ένα έγκλημα γεμάτο ‘’πικάντικα’’ μυστικά που αν και στην αρχή είναι πολύ εύκολο ένα γεμάτο πορτοφόλι να καλύψει το βάρος τους, στην ουσία δεν πρόκειται για τίποτα άλλο από ένα προσωρινό σαμποτάζ ενοχών και τύψεων. Βέβαια , το χέρι μου στην φωτιά δεν το βάζω. Οι αντιδράσεις και τα συναισθήματα που πηγάζουν μετά από κάθε πράξη διαφέρουν ανά κάθε χαρακτήρα . Για παράδειγμα μπορεί κάποιος που βίωσε την ανέχεια της φτώχιας στα παιδικά του χρόνια, να υποσχέθηκε στον εαυτό του ασυνείδητα ,πως δεν θα επιτρέψει να ξαναπεράσει τα ίδια , άνευ κόστους. Αλλά ακόμα και αυτός, θα έχει την δύναμη να μην ανατρέψει το αλισβερίσι ‘’επιβίωσης’’ σε ένα ανισσόροπο ‘’δούναι και λαβείν’’ , πληγώνοντας την ψυχή του ; Από την άλλη, μήπως τελικά ο μύθος της ‘’καριέρας μέσω κρεβατιού’’ κρύβει μια δόση αδιάλλακτης αλήθειας ;
Only gay sportsman representing Britain in equestrian event edges Germany.
Carl Hester, the only gay sportsman representing host nation Britain in the 2012 Olympics equestrian event, was part of the dressage team that won the gold medal today (7 August).
The win by Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin resulted in Britain's 20th gold medal of these Olympics. They finished in first place ahead of Germany in the competition at Greenwich Park.
It is the first medal for Hester who had gone home empty-handed at past Olympics in Athens, Sydney and Barcelona.
Hester, 45, was born in the Channel Island of Sark where horses were the only means of transportation. He moved to Gloucestershire at 19 to further develop his passion for riding and soon began to compete.
He has won 51 national domestic dressage titles during his career and in 2011, won team gold and individual silver at the European Championships.
Τρίτη, 7 Αυγούστου 2012
New chair of charity Diversity Role Models, Simon Blake, says that gay sexuality must be openly visible in schools to prevent homophobic bullying.
Photo by Diversity Role Models.
Simon Blake, the new chair of British charity Diversity Role Models (DRM), says gay sexuality should be more visible in schools.
DRM says making gay sexuality an open topic in schools helps stop homophobic bullying. The charity wants to educate young people on differences in sexuality and how to understand, welcome and accept differences before bullying begins.
‘We need openness in the playground, in the classroom and in the behavior of teachers’, says Blake.
‘People have different personal beliefs about sex and sexuality, but the law is clear about gay sexuality. It is vital in a modern society that young people learn bullying is wrong and that diversity is not something to be afraid of.
Schools should be teaching what the law is, what people think about sexuality and how young people can protect themselves.’
DRM believes in communicating with students directly, using positive role models to counter negative stereotypes and help LGBT youths feel confident while enabling their classmates to better empathize with them.
Outgoing chair Jean Balfour is positive about DRM’s impact on youths, despite the charity having only been in existance for less than a year.
‘We are changing attitudes and that is reducing the impact of prejudice on youngsters’, she said.
Blake has previously established Anti-Bullying Week as a leader of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and has been a key advisor on what UK schools call 'personal and sexual health education' since the 1990s.
He was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2011 for services to the voluntary sector and young people.
Campaign group present legal and economic argument for bringing marriage equality to the Australian state of Tasmania.
Campaign group Australian Marriage Equality have launched a website specifically for the state of Tasmania to support efforts to legalize gay marriage there.
On Saturday (4 August)state Premier Lara Giddings said at that she is pushing for Tasmania to become the first state in Australia to allow people of the same gender to marry.
Since that announcement, questions have been raised over whether it will be possible to pass the legislation in the state’s Upper House and whether the federal government will allow one state to have its own marriage laws.
The website, Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality, presents an argument from constitutional experts that says the state is able to enact its own laws on marriage. It quotes George Williams, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, who says:
‘When same-sex marriage is debated, many people assume it can only be brought about by the federal Parliament. This belief is misplaced. Same-sex marriage laws can be enacted by the states.’
The group also argue that legalizing gay marriage before the rest of the country will be good for Tasmania’s economy, as couples will travel to the island to get married. They estimate it will bring $100 million (Australian dollars, $106 million, €85 million) to small businesses.
Δευτέρα, 6 Αυγούστου 2012
American Psychiatric Association removes transgender from mental illness category after years of LGTB lobbying.
Transgender people are no longer considered 'mentally ill' by the American Psychiatric Association.
The mental health organization's decision to replace the term 'gender identity disorder' with 'gender dysphoria' means transgender is no longer categorized as a mental illness and comes after years of campaigning by activists.
'It no longer matters what your body looks like, what you want to do to it, all of that is irrelevant as far as the APA goes,' said Dana Beyer, a retired eye surgeon who helped the Washington Psychiatric Society make recommendations for the chapter on 'Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders'.
She told the Associated Press: 'A right-winger can't go out and say all trans people are mentally ill because if you are not dysphoric, that can't be diagnosed from afar.'
The change will have an impact on legal cases, with courts unable to use a person's gender identity against them, but also meaning trans people can't use their 'disorder' as a defense.
The move is being cited as the step big step in the LGBT rights movement since the APA announced in 1973 that homosexuality was not a mental illness, paving the way for greater tolerance and acceptance in society.
'All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context,' Jack Drescher, a New York psychiatrist and member of the APA subcommittee, told the Associated Press.
'We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.'